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Whether or not you are conscious of it, every brand has a voice—a point of view that they put out into the universe to attract their ideal clients. The brands that hone in on and develop those voices attract customers who rally for them and become their biggest cheerleaders online and in the marketplace. Today, we want to help you gain clarity on what a brand voice is, and how you can begin to craft your brand voice guidelines.
A brand voice is the way your brand sounds and looks from a company’s first marketing touchpoint all of the way to the point of sale, and beyond. But the voice is comprised of more than just words. A brand voice includes the way a business presents itself visually in marketing materials, how their employees interact with customers, how the facilities look and feel, and even how customer service answers emails and phone calls. A brand, after all, is similar to a person. Our personalities come out—not only by how we act and react to our friends in-person—but also on our social media pages, how we respond to strangers, and in the texts we write. Our personalities are relatively consistent because they are naturally created—a culmination of our experiences, making up how we step into the world every day. When a brand decides to develop this, it is a little more complicated because, often, several individuals are working together to build that personality, which is where a strategized brand voice guidelines come in handy.
Think of a business. Now, think of how it feels when you walk in their doors or visit their website, how it feels to visit and be a part of their social media communities, how it feels to call them and ask questions. Chances are, you are getting a different vibe in all of those places. But, the brands that hone in on their strategy and get it right at every touchpoint are the ones who make headlines for outstanding customer service and who our friends tell us to check out. It’s easy to rally behind a business that makes you feel included every single time you see anything about them. It is also easy to recommend friends when you know that you receive top-notch service every time you visit. And, building a brand voice helps with just that.
The first step in creating a brand voice is to define your purpose. Why are you in business, and who do you want to be reaching? What is the mission of your brand, and how does that propel you forward to be the best in your category? Though a lot of these questions can seem a little cerebral, it is essential to get that information written down so that you and everyone on your team can work towards the same goals.
Once that is solidified, you can then think about your dream customers. Put yourself in their shoes, and consider what personality they would want from you. Maybe you own a coffee shop, and your dream customer visits right before work to grab an espresso and muffin. They are in a hurry, but are always pleasant and take time to make your team feel special. What is the best way for them to experience your cafe? We could guess it would make them feel great if your team knew their name, could guess their order, provided speedy service, and could also take time to listen on days when the customer needed it. Your team could take a moment to write a sweet note on each cup, saying things like, “We hope you crush your meeting!” Then, online you could carry that customer service on by building a webpage so that your customer can make their orders early, purchase gift cards, read about coffee beans, how they are sustainably chosen, and what families are farming them. You could teach your customer about the beans and which roast has the most caffeine for their busiest days. And then you can strategically carry those messages over to social media in a fun and community-centric way. All of this, to make that one person who hurries in for their espresso and muffin feel like they go to the best cafe in the world.
Now that you have that info, you can start to think of tone; you can begin to consider which of the 12 Jungian archetypes your brand lands under, create your avatar, and start to list out do’s and don’ts. Decisions as small as which emojis your team should use in customer responses, all help to drive your brand voice home.
A lot of businesses start with a logo, but the truth is, in a perfect world logo development would come after the voice strategy. We understand that those branding decisions may already be solidified—so, start to change what you can. Whether that means making your mailers more fun, more luxurious, or changing the way your social media looks from head to toe. There are a ton of ways, online and in-house, that you can adjust to serve your overall voice and purpose better.
Over the next few months, we are going to be diving into brands that inspire us, and who do brand voice right. But, before we give you opinions from our team, you should click around on the following brands’ websites, social pages, and any other point of contact online to see where you find consistencies and how they make you feel. Then, let us know what you find out in the comments below!
If your business would like some help crafting their brand voice, contact us. We would love to set up a call with you to talk about how we can help to partner with your team to propel their marketing efforts.